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Appreciating Holiday Traditions

Like any other holiday, I’m sure there are many family traditions that all families observe during this holiday season. Christmas seems to be one of those seasons where families hold their traditions most dear and carry through with the traditions each year no matter what. Like last year: we did Christmas with my mom’s side of the family and we always go to my grandpa’s. Well, it had dumped A LOT of snow on Wichita and quite a bit of Kansas at that time last year and it wasn’t very safe to be driving. But my mom being herself, did not plan on breaking any traditions. So we loaded up the presents and headed out onto the treacherous streets. Somehow after seeing a few wrecks and cars sliding all over the road we made it safely. (more…)




Fight the Book Barons With Textbook Revolt

Students, want to save some serious money on textbooks?  Then here’s a website you should check out:  Textbook Revolt.  I don’t usually promote websites, but this is one that really caught my attention.

Textbook Revolt is a textbook exchange network.  Students use a book for class, and when they’re done with it, they offer the book for free to anyone who wants it.  The idea is that students will get books for free when they need them, and then donate books to others who need them in turn. (more…)




10 Ways to Save Money on College Textbooks

College bookstores and publishers have been making a fortune off of students for years, and before the days of the Internet, students were largely at their mercy.  These days, though, with a little legwork, students can find ways to save money on textbooks.  Here are some tips to help you work the system.

  1. Buy your books used at an online store.  Check out sites like Amazon.com and Half.com that have a selection of used books.  The trick is this: buy your books between the middle and the end of the semester, when demand is low, so you can get the best prices.  This requires you to find out what books you will need ahead of time, which is easy enough.  Just ask the professor or the department secretary.
  2. Sell your used books on an online store. Selling books back to a college bookstore rarely gets you top dollar. Instead, sell your books at Amazon.com or other online store.  This is really easy to do and does not require much technical knowledge, and yes, you get reimbursed for your postage as part of the transaction.  The trick is to sell the books online at the beginning of the semester or slightly before, because this is when demand is high.  To get the maximum price, keep your books in good condition and don’t mark up the pages. (more…)



Flu Shots for College Students

Students:  have you had your flu shot?

It might be a good idea to get yourself immunized against influenza.  After all, you spend your time on a campus crowded with an overabundance of people, which means that germs and diseases spread quickly.

In fact, according to Forbes.com, between 9 and 20 percent of all college students get the flu every year!  That means if you’re not immunized, you’re at high risk to get the flu — which is the last thing you need when you’re a busy college student.  According to a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota and the VA Medical Center, students at college campuses can greatly benefit from flu shots, both because it will prevent individual students from getting sick and prevent those students from spreading the disease around campus.

And it just hurts for a second.  Really.

The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not to be perceived as providing medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this site should complement, not replace, the advice and relationship of your healthcare provider. You should seek the professional advice of your medical doctor prior to beginning a new diet or weight loss program.




As Semester Draws to an End

I can’t believe that the first semester of my senior year is already over! It seems just yesterday I was walking down the halls saying hello to friends I hadn’t seen all summer. Now I’m immersed in finals week and trying to wrap up everything as the semester comes to a close.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this semester has gone. I’ve had my share of rough patches, but what student doesn’t?! Although I did slack and my GPA will suffer some from this slacking, it will be motivation to push myself even harder my second semester. I also received so far an acceptance letter from the University of Tulsa and a rejection letter from the University of Chicago, beginning another trip down decision lane. Of course, I still have eight schools to hear from so a decision is no where near in my future.

So as first semester comes to an end and the second semester looms close in the future, I look forward to my last semster in high school, but also the things that lay ahead after high school.




Obama Chooses Arne Duncan for Secretary of Education

It’s official. Barack Obama has nominated Arne Duncan, the current chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools, to serve as the Secretary of Education for his upcoming administration.

As the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan has taken some aggressive and controversial stands.  Here’s a rundown of Duncan’s qualifications and what he’s done in the Chicago Public Schools.

He was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University in 1987 with a degree in sociology. He was also the co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team. Duncan was Director of Chicago’s Ariel Education Initiative, an organization that seeks to create educational opportunities for inner-city kids through mentoring and tutoring, between 1992 and 1998, and then ran Chicago’s magnet school system from 1998-2001, when he then became the CEO of the Chicago Public schools. During his time as CEO he accomplished the following:

  • Duncan has strongly advocated charter schools and has closed down under-performing schools.
  • Duncan aggressively sought to improve attendance and dropout rates in the Chicago Public Schools.
  • Duncan supported a proposal to open a school for Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender students.

Duncan has quite a full schedule lined up for him over the next few years, with No Child Left Behind badly in need of reform, out of control tuition costs at public colleges and universities, and budget cuts at public schools across the country.




Are High School Students Unprepared for College?

Here’s a recent article in the Denver Post that reports that about 30 percent of all incoming Colorado college students are unprepared for college and need remedial classes.

As someone who used to teach college in Colorado, I’m not the least bit surprised. I had plenty of terrific students when I taught at Colorado State University, and I had plenty of students that should not have been admitted.  Maybe even 30 percent.

It’s not just Colorado though.  According to the article, the 30 percent figure is around the national average.

As a former professor, I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating this was for me. I had students in my junior and senior level classes who couldn’t write at anywhere close to college level. I taught difficult theoretical concepts in my classes, and I found myself tempted (and sometimes giving in) to dumbing things down. (more…)




Second Semester Tuition Payments Hurt Struggling Families

If you’re a student — or someone who helps pay for the college education of a student — you know that in January the second half of the bill for tuition, room and board, fees, and other expenses is due.  Unfortunately, quite a bit has happened this past semester to the economy, and many families are finding that January bill much harder to pay than they anticipated.  This is especially true for students whose parents own small businesses, which have been hit especially hard by the credit crunch.

Here’s an article in the Wall Street Journal about this phenomenon.

Students, if you are having trouble paying for school and anticipate having to drop out, communicate with your financial aid office.  Emergency financial aid is sometimes available.  Schools do not want to lose students because of financial reasons, and you may be able to get help.




American Students are Mastering Math

According to an article recently posted on InformationWeek, American fourth and eighth graders have moved up in the polls, ranking ninth and sixth internationally in math test scores. To a nation that seems to be dumped on quite a bit for their public education system and how smart their students are, it seems that the U.S. is starting to move up in the ranks.

A survey conducted by the International Study Center at Boston College shows that the comprehension of math students in fourth and eighth grade has increased since 2003, which leads to the boost in the rankings amongst other nations. The American students also scored above average when compared to students in other countries. (more…)




Anti-Intellectualism, the Ivy League, and Obama’s Cabinet

During a summer job when I was in college, I was chatting with a fellow college student.  I asked her where she went to school.

“At a school in Connecticut,” she said.

“Where at?” I asked.

“New Haven,” she said, sort of blushing.

“Oh, you go to Yale!” I said, “How cool is that?”

I wonder how many other Ivy League students out there answer the question “where do you go to school?” with such an evasive response.  Perhaps she thought that others would think she was a snob, or that they would think that she was bragging, if she answered the question directly.  I, for one, certainly didn’t think less of her, quite the opposite.

But isn’t this a shame?  On the one hand, Americans admire Ivy League educations, and because of this, the names on their transcripts can open some doors.  On the other hand, there’s a powerful undercurrent of distrust of intellectualism in America.  Whether it’s high school students mocking the smart kids, or college girls playing down their intelligence in class, or Fox News accusing Barack Obama of being an “elite” because he went to Columbia and Harvard, people are a little distrustful of those who have brains, an education, and the desire to work hard in their studies.  (more…)




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